Overdrive is one of those AoS maps which delivers a surprising amount of emergent gameplay by introducing a single twist.
The twist in question is using the Overdrive mechanic from Final Fantasy X to give heroes their ultimates, rather than the usual method of granting them at level 6 and having lengthy cooldowns.
Scars of War (Skar, 2009-2011) is an unusual combination of a relatively recent map using 2005-era scripting. It draws loose inspiration from DotA, and is mostly comprised of minor to moderate twists on familiar ideas. The map includes more features than it needs, and many of them aren't integrated well, but among the clutter lie a few interesting concepts.
It's been a while since the last update; just writing to say there'll be a new post up later this month.
Comfortably one of the most refined AoS experiences in the genre, Desert of Exile is 6v6 map built on the premise that simple, elegant systems can produce complex and engaging gameplay when their parts are allowed to interact.
It is the first AoS to adopt this philosophy seriously, and it is executed with confidence and discipline. There are no half-baked systems, nor any peripheral mechanics that don't quite tie in with the rest.
In a world of mobas which are aiming for the skies, it's nice to see a project that executes well with a smaller scope. I was recently introduced to AoS Sunken Ruins (Quillraven, 2008-2010), which manages to provide a surprisingly complete AoS experience despite having less heroes, items, and supplementary mechanics than its peers.
The simplicity of the map objectives, and transparency of gold-spending options make Sunken Ruins a game to be played, rather than solved.
Just about every commercial MOBA shares the same victory condition of "destroy the enemy base". Is there anything that could be done to introduce some variety?
Before we begin, the word MOBA is used more inclusively by some people than others, so for clarification we need to divide the answer into two cases: lane-pushing games, and arenas.
Early in its development cycle, Sins of a Dark Age was reportedly going to merge the genres of RTS and MOBA to create something greater than the sum of its parts.